Technical Electives

In order to ensure sufficient breadth and depth, the MSE curriculum requires that students take two materials electives and three materials applications electives, as well as an upper level Technical Elective. One of these courses, or one of the advisor approved electives from the Engineering Distribution, must satisfy the advanced mathematics/computation/modeling requirement. Students with a GPA above 3.5 at the end of the junior year may take additional elective courses to satisfy Honors Program requirements. In choosing electives, students are encouraged to discuss their plans and objectives with their faculty advisor.

Materials Electives

The Materials Electives are intended to provide depth of knowledge in at least two different classes of materials. The Materials Electives for the current academic year (2023 - 2024) are:     

  • MSE 5210 "Properties of Solid Polymers"
  • MSE 5310 "Introduction to Ceramics"
  • MSE 5320 "Glass: Structure, Properties and Modern Applications"
  • MSE 5430 "Thin Film Materials Science"
  • MSE 5440 "Interfacial and Surface Phenomena in Materials Science”

No other courses may be substituted for the Materials Electives. Courses with cross-listed headers other than MSE are completely acceptable to be listed on the Graduation Checklist under Materials Electives and Materials Applications Electives; remember to list all headers for each cross-listed course.  A Materials Elective can be counted as a Materials Applications Elective without petition.

Materials Application Electives

The Materials Applications Electives are divided into five categories. These categories reflect the strategic areas that the MSE Major has identified as being important in the future. Looking ahead, materials will be used more and more in integrated systems where many kinds of dissimilar materials will be combined in new and interesting ways. Thus, the MSE curriculum reflects a systems approach. Four technological areas have been identified where materials are expected to be the deciding factor in determining whether and how well that technology may succeed, and where a tremendous benefit to society may be expected if it does succeed. A fifth area covers courses that are strategic for students pursuing advanced degrees (PhD). These courses are designed to provide students with an understanding of the context in which the development and implementation of new technologies takes place.

The Materials Applications Electives categories are listed below, along with courses that have been approved in each of the five categories:

  1. Biotechnology and Life Sciences
  2. Energy and the Environment
  3. Nanotechnology
  4. Information Science and Technology
  5. Materials Research

NOTE: Due to course content overlap only MSE 4610 OR FSAD 4390/BME 5390 may be used as Materials Applications Electives in the MSE program. Courses marked with * will not be offered in the next two years.

  • Biotechnology and Life Sciences

    • BEE 3400 " Design and Analysis of Biomaterials"
    • BEE 3650 "Properties of Biological Materials"
    • BME 3210 "Multiscale Biomaterial Analysis"
    • BME 5810 (also MAE 5680) "Soft Tissue Biomechanics"
    • BME 5830 "Cell-Biomaterials Interactions"
    • BME 5850 "Current Practice in Tissue Engineering"
    • BME 6210 (also CHEME 6310) "Engineering Principles for Drug Delivery"
    • BME 6670 (also AEP/BIOG 6630, MSE 5630) "Nanobiotechnology"
    • CHEME 4810 (also BME 4810) "Biomedical Engineering"
    • FSAD 4390 (also BME 5390) "Biomedical Materials and Devices for Human Body Repair"
    • MAE 4640 (also BME 4640) "Orthopedic Tissue Mechanics"
    • MSE 5230 "Physics of Soft Materials"
    • MSE 5235 "Design of Soft Materials"
    • MSE 5620 (also BME 5620) "Biomineralization: The Formation and Properties of Inorganic Biomaterials"
  • Energy and the Environment

    • CEE 3710 "Structural Modeling and Behavior"
    • CEE 4750 (also CEE 6750) "Concrete Materials and Construction"
    • CEE 6725 (also MAE 5120) "3D Printing Parts that Don't Break: From Processing to Performance"
    • CHEME 6660 "Analysis of Sustainable Energy Systems"
    • CHEME 6662 "Solar Energy Module"
    • ECE 4840 (also MAE 4590, NSE/AEP 4840) "Introduction to Controlled Fusion: Principles and Technology"
    • MAE 4580 (also AEP/CHEME/ECE/NSE 4130) "Introduction to Nuclear Science and Engineering"
    • MSE 4330 (also MSE 5330) "Materials for Energy Production, Storage, and Conversion
    • MSE 5520 (MAE 6450) "Additive Manufacturing: Fundamentals and Processes"
    • MSE 5250 "Organic Optoelectronics"
    • MSE 5740 "Fundamentals and Applications of Electrochemistry"
  • Nanotechnology

    • CHEME 6440 "Aerosols and Colloids"
    • ECE 4320 (also MAE 4320) "MicroElectro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)"
    • FSAD 4460 “Nanotechnology in Fibers and Textiles”
    • MAE 4130 "Mechanics of Composite Structures"
    • MSE 4890 (also MSE 5890) "Colloids and Colloid Assemblies for Advanced Materials Applications"
    • MSE 5120 (also MAE 5130) "Mechanical Properties of Thin Films"
    • MSE 5410 (also ECE 4360) "Nanofabrication for Integrated Circuits"
    • MSE 5425 “Properties, Characterization, and Applications of Nanomaterials"
    • MSE 5880 "The Science of Nanoparticles: synthesis, characterization, and applications"
  • Information Science and Technology

    • AEP 4450 (also ECE 4380) “Electromagnetic Metamaterials”
    • ECE 4070 "Physics of Semiconductors and Nanostructures"
    • ECE 4300 "Lasers and Optoelectronics"
    • ECE 4360 (also MSE 5410) "Nanofabrication and Characterization of Electronics"
    • ECE 4370 "Fiber and Integrated Optics"
    • ECE 4570 "Silicon Device Fundamentals"
    • ECE 4820 (also MSE 4820) "Plasma Processing of Electronic Materials"
    • ECE 5350 "Semiconductor Physics"
    • ECE 5370 "Nanoscale Device Physics"
    • ECE 5390 (also MSE 5472) "Quantum Transport in Electron Devices and Novel Materials"
    • MSE 5420 "Flexible Electronics"
    • MSE 5435 "Organic Electronics: Materials and Processing"
    • MSE 5450 "Magnetic and Ferroelectric Materials"
    • MSE 5460 (also ECE 5570) "Compound Semiconductors Materials Science"
  • Materials Research

    • One semester of research involvement at sophomore, junior, or senior level (MSE x910 and x920)
    • AEP 4400 "Quantum and Nonlinear Optics"
    • AEP 4500 (also PHYS 4454) "Introductory Solid State Physics"
    • AEP 5510 "Symmetry & Equivariance"
    • CHEM 3890 "Honors Physical Chemistry I"
    • CHEM 7870 "Computational Methods of Physical Chemistry"
    • CHEME 6400 "Polymeric Materials"
    • CHEME 7740 "Principles of Molecular Simulation"
    • FSAD 3350 "Fiber Science"
    • FSAD 4360 "Fiber Chemistry"
    • FSAD 6160 "Rheology of Solids: Dynamic Mechanical Analysis of Fibers and Polymers"
    • FSAD 6200 "Physical Properties of fiber-Forming Polymers and Fibers"
    • FSAD 6660 "Fiber Formation: Theory and Practice"
    • FSAD 6860 "Mechanics of Fibrous Assemblies and their Composites"
    • MAE 4670 “Polymer Mechanics”
    • MSE 4510 (also MAE 4240) “Materials Processing and Manufacturing”
    • MSE 5240 "Synthesis of Polymeric Materials"
    • MSE 5320 (also CHEME 5320) "Glass: Structure, Properties and Modern Applications"
    • MSE 5340 "Particulate Science and Engineering: Fundamentals and Applications"
    • MSE 5710 "Analytical Techniques for Materials Science"
    • MSE 5715 (also ECE 4060) "Engineering Quantum Mechanics"
    • MSE 5720 "Computational Materials Science"
    • MSE 5730 (also CHEME 5740) "Probability, Statistics, and Data Analysis for the Physical Sciences"

Students are required to take Materials Applications courses from at least two different categories. One of these must be an MSE course and two must be taken from other departments (non-MSE number).  Note that many courses are cross-listed with multiple departments; students should be sure to enroll in the appropriate version of the course.  Courses with cross-listed headers other than MSE are completely acceptable to be listed on the Graduation Checklist under Materials Electives and Materials Applications Electives; remember to list all headers for each cross-listed course.

This list is not exhaustive and there are numerous other courses at Cornell that focus on materials applications. Students are encouraged to petition to accept other courses as materials application electives.  These petitions should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies and should include the category in which the proposed course should be counted, a brief explanation or why it is appropriate for a materials science major, and copies the catalog description and syllabus if available.  All Materials Electives can be used as Materials Applications Electives without petition.  If a Materials Elective is used as a Materials Applications Elective the other two Materials Applications Electives must be from two distinct categories.

Outside Technical Elective

An Outside Technical Elective can be any advanced (2000 level or above) technical (engineering or physical science) course that fits into the student's educational objectives.